Despite my best advice, Nocioni got into some brief altercations in the Magic game. Nothing escalated though, even after a head-rattling foul by Kelvin Cato to send Nocioni into the basket support. Despite that brief moment of fire by the Magic, they didn't look much like a playoff team, and letting an undermanned Bulls team on the bad end of a back-to-back beat you on your home court didn't do much to prove doubters otherwise. And the Bulls proved that injuries do not mean they'll go away.
But back to that game the previous night against the Heat. I wanted to quickly point out the drastic difference in perspective between two writers, one a blogger and one from the mainstream.
First from the Bulls Report:
The loss in Miami was a concession. Deng is out. Eddy is coming back slowly. Harrington's wife is expecting a baby. Kirk is slowed down. Even with a 100% healthy Bulls teams, beating Miami in Miami was going to be tough. It wasn't going to happen last night. Don't shed any tears.
Not only does ESPN.com's Scoop Jackson shed tears, he prepares for more:
This was the game that was supposed to prove the Bulls' nine-game un-losing streak was real as government cheese. They asked me to watch this game, use it against a hypothesis, use it to come to a conclusion. Gauge. Make statements.
So 48 minutes and 39 career-high Dwyane Wade points later, I came to this conclusion: The Bulls eventually are going to break my heart like the Illini did.
(ok questioning Scoop Jackson may be a bad example of 'mainstream'.....but roll with me)
I don't think it's possible for the Bulls to break anyone's heart. How can this not be all seen as a positive. I know there was talk last week of seeding, and home court advantage, and how to avoid the Heat in the second round. The second round?!? Was there any idea early on that Bulls fans could even consider the second round?
Look, I'm not one to be happy with mediocrity. That mindset allowed me to defend Jerry Krause's transactions of mass destruction. The Bulls should only be about winning world championships, maintaining their standing as one of the jewel organizations in the NBA.
But I will not be heartbroken no matter how the playoffs go. Any experience that these kids get will be a good one, and while the injuries may catch up with them, they've proven they can win through adversity, and still have the elements for an exciting playoff run. Unlike Scoop, I'm guessing most Bulls fans feel the way us Bulls bloggers (and obviously fans too) do. Forget anticipating doom, I'm gonna enjoy this ride.